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Release Date: 9/29/1999
Contact Information: Randy Wittorp, (415) 744-1589

     LOS ANGELES -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited five companies for selling unregistered pesticides, insecticidal chalks and moth repellants, which are hazardous to children.  The sale of unregistered pesticides is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The EPA is seeking penalties totalling over $30,000.

     Pretty Baby of Pomona, CA, and JEDD's of Anaheim, CA were cited for selling unregistered insecticidal chalk products.  99 Ranch Market of Buena Park, CA; Haimin International, Inc. of Brea, CA;  and Hocean, Inc. of City of Commerce, CA were cited for selling unregistered naphthalene moth repellent products.

     In 1998 EPA launched a major nation-wide Urban Initiative to highlight pesticide safety in the home. The EPA's western regional office is targeting companies which sell or distribute pesticides that present a particular risk to children.  In the products cited today, the form of the products -- chalk and crystals -- makes them very attractive to children, and their packaging contains no child-protection warnings or child-resistant packaging.

    "The products we have targeted pose a real hazard to children.  None of them are registered, so we don't have enough information to know how they might affect children's health, and protections consumers count on are missing," said Pamela Cooper, chief of the Pesticides Program at EPA's regional office.

     Children are much more susceptible to the effects of some pesticides because their bodies and internal organs are still developing.  And their behavior -- such as playing on the floor or putting things in their mouths -- increases their chances of exposure to pesticides.  Poison Control Centers nationwide have received hundreds of reports of children exposed to insecticidal chalk.

     EPA recommends that consumers pay careful attention to the pesticides they use in and around their homes. Many low-risk pesticides are available and
the safest way to control pests is to practice prevention: seal entry routes like cracks around doors and windows, and keep areas clean and dry so pests don't have access to food or water.

     The civil complaints are based on inspections conducted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Nevada Department of Agriculture. The companies are working with EPA to ensure the products are no longer available.